Monday Musings

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So last week was a very busy week around our home.  We were preparing for our Band and Strings concert.  Our youngest son was supposed to have a tennis class.  Plus, my husband and I went on a partial weekend date to San Antonio – primarily so we could pick up a produce order from Bountiful Baskets on Saturday morning before we rushed home to play in the concerts.  Here are some pictures of our Bountiful Baskets produce.

But before I write more about the concert I have to talk about our date weekend.  This weekend we went someplace we had never been before – which is Wimberley, Texas.  This place amazed and astounded us.  Having moved to Texas from the mountains of Pennsylvania, the views and scenery around Wimberly took our breath away.  Even though it rained and was cloudy, we were still able to take a short walk to see the river/stream in Wimberley.  Here are some pictures.

 

The problem with all of our family members being in the band and strings groups is that it makes it difficult to take pictures.  Also, because I am one of the moms who helps coordinate things like the food for after the performances, it is even harder to get pictures of our whole family.  This time I failed completely at getting any pictures at all.  Here is one picture another mom took of us during the beginner strings performance.

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So now the Homeschool Band and Strings program are both on break until after the first of the year, but Nathan, Dennis (my husband) and I still have two performances this coming Saturday with the Community Band.  So be watching for updates next week about how that goes.  This Thursday we have a Christmas party for the tennis group as long as the weather cooperates.  Then Dennis, Nathan and I will be heading to Austin/Round Rock to go to Ikea and more.

If you would like to read what other members of the Home School Review Crew are blogging about this week, click here or on the image below.

Review of Lisa Tanner Writing’s Balancing Diapers and Deadlines

Lisa Tanner Writing provides work at home mom productivity tips in her Balancing Diapers and Deadlines course.  While I do not have my own business yet per se, as a member of the Home School Review Crew and being a military wife in addition to being a homeschooling mother and a member of several book review teams, I knew this course potentially could provide fantastic information and insights for my life.  This online course offers valuable information for anyone who already works at home along with anyone who desires to work at home.

Lisa Tanner provides amazing tips for time management for busy moms. Her work at home productivity tips truly resonated with me on a personal level.  Lisa Tanner states on her “About Lisa” page of her blog, “I’m a homeschooling mom of 8 who uses freelance writing, virtual assistance, and blogging to help pay the bills.”  I love she uses her own experiences with her own family to demonstrate how her family utilizes her suggestions and ideas.  We have four children – three sons and a daughter.  Our youngest (and only daughter) just turned sixteen, and our oldest son is twenty-two plus we have a twenty-year-old son and an eighteen-year-old son who also live with us.  So finding time for everything is imperative.

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Lisa breaks the course up into seven units, which are broken down into smaller lessons.  Action steps for each lesson provide bite-size pieces to help organize every part of your family’s life.  From setting goals for your business and home to meal planning and involving your family in the business and more compelled me to really think about what business at home should look like.  The units include:

  •   Welcome to Balancing Diapers and Deadlines
  •  Minimize Your Decisions
  • Minimize Your Decisions:  The Annual Meal Plan
  • Sustainable Growth
  • Growing a Business with Your Kids Around
  • Boost Your Productivity
  • Closing Thoughts

One of the areas I had been working on before starting this course involved meal planning.   We have a son who works now plus is lactose-intolerant in addition to several nights we have band and strings practice.  If I do not have a plan for dinner, it makes our lives difficult.  So meal planning has become my friend and close companion.  So the suggestions and tips from this section were constructive.  I loved how Lisa Tanner provided 5 years of her annual meal plan in the course.  This plan helped generate ideas for meals for us.  This weekend I plan on devoting time to making out a yearly meal plan. Indeed, meal planning provides untold blessings both to our family and to our finances.

 

 

 

One of the most compelling parts for me involved the use of my phone/iPad.  Recently I read a story online about a family who made it a point to unplug when they went out for dinner.  As a result, an older couple sitting near them paid for their meal unexpectedly.  In turn, this action prompted their family to do the same to pay it forward.  I really loved this idea.  As our family shops and goes about our daily lives, I continuously find it amazing to see parents allowing younger and younger children using technology primarily as a means of promoting good behavior.  So I know I personally desire to unplug from electronics more and plug into my family more.

 

 

The other section I really found informative and thought-provoking involved ways to include our children in an at-home business. Obviously, with our children ranging in age from sixteen to twenty-two, some sections did not apply to me, but the ones for involving teens really reflected many things I already do with our children.  For example, my third child and youngest son have been helping for roughly the past year with learning coding along with learning photography using our DSLR camera (although we have not put that into actual practice yet). I also plan on developing free items and items to sell eventually, which I plan to have our sixteen-year-old daughter, who is incredibly artistic, provide illustrations and graphics for in the future.

Some of the key points I will take away from this course include:

  • Just because I can do something, does not mean I should!
  • Let my children be a blessing to my business!
  • It is essential to begin and end my day well.
  • I can not DO everything, and that is okay!
  • Communication is key
  • My priorities will change.
  • I need to remember God made each of us unique.

You can find Lisa Tanner Writing on social media at:

Facebook: https://facebook.com/lisatannerwriting
Instagram: https://instagram.com/lisatannerwrites
Twitter: https://twitter.com/lisatannerwrite
Pinterest: https://pinterest.com/lisatannerwrite

Because my husband is only a few years from retiring, I know I want to come up with some type of at-home business now that will be able to supplement my husband’s retirement income, so this course has definitely been a blessing to take.  So whether you already work from or whether you would like to start your own business/blog, check out Lisa Tanner Writing and Balancing Diapers and Deadlines for yourself.
Balancing Diapers and Deadlines for yourself.

Click here or on the graphic below to read additional posts by members of the Home School Review Crew about Lisa Tanner Writing and her course, Balancing Diapers and Deadlines.

 

Thoughts for Tuesday, October 30, 2018

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Since October 14th, our family has been in birthday mode.  Our daughter celebrated her 16th birthday on the 14th.  Then on the 20th, our youngest son turned 18.  Finally, on the 23rd, our second son turned 20.  So now we are done with birthdays for the year.

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For today’s installment of Tasty Tuesdays, we made Ham Bean Soup over the weekend and had some ham left over.  So tonight I took the ham,  a stick of butter, some milk, and a two-pound block of cheddar cheese.  Here is the final product.

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And finally, from the Art Department, here are two pictures – one is an original our daugther did some time ago and the other is a redo she completed this week.

 

If you are a homeschool blogger and are interested in becoming part of the Home School Review Crew, applications are now open for new bloggers.  So check it out for yourself.

So what have you been up to this week?  If you would like to read what the other members of the Home School Review Crew are blogging about this week, click here or on the graphic below.

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Review of Heirloom Audio’s St. Bartholomew’s Eve

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I love adding Christian audio drama to our family’s listening time, and so I was thrilled to receive the 2-CD set of St. Bartholomew’s Eve from Heirloom Audio for our listening pleasure.  For many years, we have enjoyed spending time listening to audio dramas either on the radio or on CDs or from digital downloads.  Heirloom Audio Productions excels at creating family-friendly dramas based on the books by G.A. Henty.  These books capture the hearts and minds of our family.  The stories, actors/actresses and music provide an incredible combination for capturing your family’s imagination.

Heirloom Audio always does a remarkable job of producing engaging and entertaining audio dramas the whole family will enjoy listening to either at home or while traveling.  The dramas are primarily designed for children ages six to sixteen, but our entire family enjoys listening to this type of Christian audio drama. Our family personally prefers listening while traveling as it breaks up the monotony of any trips we take.  The two CDs provide over two hours of listening entertainment.

St. Bartholomew’s Eve opens with G.A. Henty meeting two young men who have slipped out of a church and plan to do some exploring.  The one boy wants to show his cousin some sights.  G.A. Henty reminds the boys about those individuals who died in the past so the boys could have the freedom to worship God.

The story then segues into the tale of an English boy and his French cousin in 1567.  The English lad has come to France to help support the Huguenots.  Because the Huguenots have ties to John Calvin, upon whose ideas the Primitive Baptist Church which is our church affiliation, our family felt a certain kinship to this story.  From the opening through the difficulties encountered by Francois and Philip to the death of one of the two, the story kept our interest the entire time.

Another portion of the story that really drew our family in was the discussion of the young child who Philip and Francois rescue.  They become concerned about whether a Catholic Frenchmen who comes to their aid can be trusted or not.  This led us to have a discussion about those individuals who provided assistance to the Jews during World War II.  We discussed how being of a particular faith does not necessarily make individuals untrustworthy or evil.  Many individuals during the time of the St. Bartholomew Massacre provided assistance to the Huguenots even though they were Catholics.

The St. Bartholomew’s Massacre took place during the reign of King Charles IX under the influence of his mother, Catherine de Medici.  The assassination of Huguenot Protestant leaders in Paris set off a massacre of tens of thousands of Huguenots all across France.  It seemed eerily similar to the deaths of the Jews during World War II.

In addition to St. Bartholomew’s Eve, our family has also had the privilege of reviewing, Wulf the Saxon, In the Reign of Terror, and Captain Bayley’s Heir.  You can check our reviews by clicking on the titles.

You can find Heirloom Audio on social media:  Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Instagram at @HeirloomAudioOfficial.  You can also check out their “Live the Adventure Club.

So if your family enjoys radio drama, check out St. Bartholomew’s Eve from Heirloom Audio  for yourself.  If you would like to read reviews by other members of the Home School Review Crew, click here or on the graphic below.

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Special Offer from The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

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We have just opened a contest that will run from now through the end of November focused on sharing your favorite holiday traditions! There are two parts to the contest. In October, come in and share your favorite holiday traditions! Then in November, come back and vote on which is your favorite. The winner will win a Kindle Fire Tablet and will be announced at the start of December.

Join us for a Holiday Traditions Contest in SchoolhouseTeachers.com Community Forum

  • Share your favorite holiday traditions in October!
  • In November come back to vote on your favorite.
  • Winner will receive a Kindle Fire Tablet – just in time for Christmas gift shopping!

The SchoolhouseTeachers.com Community Forum is a private group filled with 7,500 member moms and dads. To gain access, you must be a member of SchoolhouseTeachers.com. You will find encouragement, fellowship, local parents wishing to meet up, recipe sharing, discussions of the over 400 courses on SchoolhouseTeachers.com and more.

Members of SchoolhouseTeachers.com can access the forum using the link: SchoolhouseFamilies.com. Not a member? Join NOW during our FALLGIFTS sale and get a year-long membership for only $139 along with a TOTE and THREE back issues of our beautiful print The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine! Use coupon code FALLGIFTS

Review of Brinkman Adventures’ Season 6 – Underground Rising

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I love adding Audio Dramas to my family’s listening time, and so I was thrilled to receive the digital version of Season 6: Underground Rising from Brinkman Adventures for our listening pleasure.  Our family enjoys listening to audio dramas any time we travel, so this was the perfect fit for our family.  These Audio Missionary dramas will captivate your family.

Brinkman Adventures provides a thrilling radio show that tells true, modern missionary stories through the fictional Brinkman family.  The episodes run for approximately twenty-six minutes and according to their website, “contains a Biblical theme, lesson, and compelling drama that will keep you on the edge of your seat.   Using modern sound effects, original music, and superb writing, Brinkman Adventures are ‘Movies for the Ears’.”

Season 6: Underground Rising contains the following episodes:

55 Dutch Underground Part 1
56 Dutch Underground Part 2
57 Twice Born Fly
58 I Wonder Why?
59 Free Burma Rangers Part 1
60 Free Burma Rangers Part 2

You can find the real stories behind these episodes here.  On this page, you will see pictures, stories, videos and more about what inspired the adventures. One thing we really loved about the “Real Stories” page on the Brinkman Adventures’ website was the inclusion of the “Making It Work” section.  This includes a Logline, the theme, and additional commentary.  I feel these items lend themselves to enriching family discussions and activities such as notebooking pages or other activities to help reinforce the stories.

As our family began listening to the Dutch Underground in our van, the intensity of the story captivated our entire family.  We could actually picture ourselves in the story.  The despair and courage faced by individuals in countries the Nazis captured come through.  We discussed whether we thought we would have the courage to put our own lives at risk for others.  This segued into a conversation about the early members of the church like the Apostle Paul, being willing to die for their belief in Jesus Christ.  Then we moved into a discussion about how Isis tortured and killed those who believed in Jesus Christ.  So we discussed what courage it took to be willing to lay down our lives for Jesus Christ.

As we listened to “Twice Born Fly”, we loved how the opening had the family gathering around the table and discussing what they were thankful that day.  We try to always eat dinner as a family, and often I try to have our children and my husband say what we are grateful for, so we could definitely relate to this portion of the episode.  But as the story progressed, we found ourselves confused by the episode.  Jack begins telling a story about being in prison and an event that occurred while there.  We just could not imagine Jack being in jail.  When he finally gets to the end of the tale, he reveals how it was actually a dream.  At that point, it made a lot more sense to our family.  We loved how even one of the daughters in the episode commented about not remembering hearing about her father being in prison.

When we began listening to “I Wonder Why?”, My children discussed how they could relate to the family picking up and moving.  Even though we are not missionaries, we are military.  So far our family has relocated 3 times, courtesy of the military.  Each time, some if not all of my children have had moments where they questioned why we had to move.  But in the end, the family we heard about recognized God’s hand in them being where they were.  Similarly, my children have come to terms with where we were stationed at, if not developing a genuine like for the location.  We also discussed how people rather than actual places make someplace home.

In the final two-part episode, we learned about Dave Eubanks, his family, and their life in Burma.  My husband and I loved where he finally convinces the woman he loved to marry him.  Despite numerous rejections, he persisted until he received the answer of “Yes!”

We found it fascinating to listen to the part where the Brinkman family came to visit.  When Jack and his children go off with Dave and some other members of his team, we were sure some kind of adventure was going to take place.  I am not sure we expected to have them involved in a potentially life-threathening conflict with the opposition.  Nor did we expect them to assist a woman who wound up giving birth during their attempt to make it to the safe camp.  But in the end, we saw that as Romans 8:28 (KJV) states, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”  Dave and Karen Eubanks definitely were following God’s direction for their lives and received the blessings of that obedience.  We also discussed how sometimes it can be hard to hear God’s voice, but often at those times, we can receive some small bit that later shows God’s hand was upon us the entire time.

 

Last year we had the privilege of reviewing Season 4 of the Brinkman Adventures.  You can review that review here.  You can also find Brinkman Adventures on Facebook here.

So if your family is like our family, and your family enjoys listening to  Audio Dramas check out the digital version of Season 6: Underground Rising from Brinkman Adventures for yourselves.  Click here or on the graphic below if you would like to read reviews by other members of the Home School Review Crew who also received this audio drama.

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Review of CashCrunch Careers from CashCrunch Games

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 Our 17-year-old son, our 15-year-old daughter, my husband and I all took the CashCrunch Careers survey from CashCrunch Games.  Even though our son and daugther already basically know what they want to do with the rest of their lives, I felt they would benefit from this opportunity for career exploration.  The opportunity to look at what colleges are looking for plus examining their own strengths and weaknesses would be productive as well.  Because my husband is nearing retirement from the military, we felt this would be a useful tool for him to utilize as well.  Because I am looking at possibly making a change once our daughter graduates in a few years, I felt I should also take this survey.

CashCrunch Games offers a variety of games. Blog posts, podcasts and more to help teach money habits.  Paul Vasey, the founder of CashCruch Games, holds a Business degree from Nottingham Trent University.  After being a teacher for some years, he decided to put his talk into practice to make a difference.  “Play our games and make the mistakes in a virtual world where the games can be restarted, and the environment is fun and nonintimidating.” displays prominently on their “About Us” page.

The CashCrunch Careers survey aims to simplify the process of finding a career.  The survey takes about 10 – 15 minutes to complete and consists of a series of questions where the participant selects one or the other of the choices.  Once completed, the system matches you with careers which best match your work styles and attributes and generates a comprehensive report.

The one problem that all the members of our family had was the difficulty in making selections.  We felt like either the choices were so very similar that making a decision difficult.  Or, the selections did not really reflect who we were personally.  My husband and son both expressed the same frustration.  Because they both have a reasonably good idea of where they want to go in the future, I was not too concerned about them doing the survey.  For myself, I merely wanted to do the survey just to see what the system would generate.  Our son stated how people are not black and white, so basing an assessment on such a formula seems to be really lacking something.

The Career Reports are broken down into four sections:  Career Work Styles, Motivators & De-motivators, Career Attributes, and Matching Jobs.  For the Career Work Styles, I found myself questioning the results.  It said I thrive in team environments, but that is only true if the team I am working with is competent.  Otherwise, I definitely prefer to work alone.  When it came to the Motivators & De-Motivators, I felt like the list was pretty accurate.

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When we began reading the actual reports, the three of us felt like the results were reasonably appropriate based on who we are for the first three sections.  However, when we got to the final part about  career suggestions we were disappointed.

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As my two children began to examine their selections, we were baffled by the lists.  Both of our children want to go into fields in the arts, but neither one of them received anything in the arts.  Our son wants to do something in music, while our daughter wants to go into the graphic novel industry.  So we were really disappointed in the actual career suggestions.  The videos included in the CashCrunch Careers section leave a lot to be desired.  They appear to be dated and disappointing given the quality of today’s videos.  I feel today’s youth will be unimpressed by the videos.

While the first three sections provide excellent information, the last one really disappointed our family.  However, we believe improvments may be made.  If only for the information provided from the first three sections and then ability to examine careers of our own choosing, this product definitely was worth reviewing.

You can find CashCrunch Games on social media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/721791248014409/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CashCrunchGames @cashcrunchgames
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/cashcrunchgames/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cashcrunchgames/ @cashcrunchgames
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/FortuneAndVenture

So check out the CashCrunch Careers survey from CashCrunch Games. for yourself.  If you would like to read reviews by other members of the Home School Review Crew, click here or on the graphic below.

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Tasty Tuesdays for October 9, 2018

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For this installment of Tasty Tuesdays, instead of focusing on meals my husband or myself prepared, I am going to highlight our two oldest children (both sons).  Our second child and second son makes a fantastic curry, and every once in a while, I ask him to fix it for our family.  It is something he does fantastic cooking.  Yesterday he prepared his curry for us.  Only this time, he did a few things differently (and because he prefers to not be in photos, I am going to have to write about it rather than show you pictures).  This time, he added freshly grated ginger root and 2 freshly grated apples.  Also, he added soy sauce, ketchup, and a few other miscellaneous ingredients along with the two boxes of Mild Curry Mix we bought at the store.

I have to say it turned out fantastic.  Our son began cooking the meal in the morning, so it simmered for a good portion of the day.  Our house smelled incredible, and he kept us laughing for most of the day…  The end result was incredible.  The only disappointment was the lack of leftovers.  Because he is also my son who loves noodles, he served it over noodles.  I have to say the meal was a complete success.

Today our oldest son and I had to go out and do some errands since he did not have to work.  So while we were out, we picked up some London broil so he could try out the new dehydrator he bought a few weeks ago.  He broke out the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and other seasonings and began marinading the meat.  So here are some pictures of that.

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I can not wait to try this.  Now it will marinade overnight, and then tomorrow, my son will continue the process.  I will be back to post more pictures.

So what is going on in your world?  I would love to hear from you.  If you would like to read what other members of the Home School Review Crew are blogging about, click here or on the graphic below.

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Review of Forensic Faith For Kids and Case Makers Academy from David C Cook

 

With a son who has had aspirations to become a police officer, books and other items relating to forensic science and detective work draw my attention.  For the past several weeks we have been learning how to be detectives with the Case Makers Academy’s Forensic Faith for Kids provided by David C Cook. I felt like this would be an excellent experience for our younger two, who are both in high school.  Because our son who may desire to work in law enforcement, I felt like this was a perfect match for our family.

David C Cook offers a variety of Biblically based resources around the world.  Millions love their products, and those products have been translated into 150 different languages while being distributed in 170 different countries.  Through the years, our family has frequently used their Sunday School materials at churches we have attended.

The Case Makers Academy offers a wealth of resources to be used with  Forensic Faith for Kids.  This group of products is an excellent way of teaching apologetics by examing crime scenes with a real detective.  Families have the opportunity to watch videos, complete training activity sheets, develop their very own Academy Notebook, and utilize the Adult Leader Guide. All of these resources are available at the Case Makers Academy link.

The recommended age range for Forensic Faith for Kids is ages 8-12.  Even though our children are 15-years-old and 17-years-old, I was sure they would find enjoyment in these products.  We decided to read the book out loud, and then my goal was for the children to complete the activities on their own.  This book is one book of a series of three currently.  I have to say our family enjoyed the book.  I wish these had been around a few years ago for our second son.  Detective J. Warner Wallace and his wife provide an engaging look into cold cases with a twist where a group of friends.  I love how there is also an adult version available, so parents or other older individuals in the student’s life can participate as well.

Readers follow Daniel, Hannah, and Jason as they work to solve a case involving a puppy who mysteriously appears.  Along with reading the book, families can visit the Case Makers Academy to complete additional activities about what they have been learning.  For example, for Chapter 7, the students fill out a note sheet about what we should say.  The students get to answer open-ended questions as well as complete fill-in-the-blank questions.

 

Forensic faith is a way of examining the world around us and finding God’s handiwork.   This book and the academy allow children to investigate God’s Existence while finding out the truth about God.  This Christian book for kids does a remarkable job of pulling the reader in and capturing their imaginations.  Our family loved how the authors pull the reader in as though he/she was present and participating in the story.  Throughout the book, there are side boxes with informative information, questions, and Scripture passages to refer to, we decided to answer these orally rather than having everyone writing them out.  It led to more in-depth conversations.

Another thing we loved about this book and online academy was the way everything was tied up at the end.  But throughout the story, clues and evidence was obtained by the group. Even though it appeared like many times the answers they were getting led to more questions, by the end of the book everything came together about the puppy.    We also loved how the authors made it clear everything happens in God’s timing rather than our timing.  Here are some pictures of a few of the Academy pages, Leader Guide pages, and the Academy notebook sheets.

 

I love how at the end of the Case Makers Academy, there are certificates and even a badge to print out.

 

You can find David C Cook on social media on Facebook, by clicking here.

Teaching young children about apologetics can be a daunting task, however, Forensic Faith for Kids and Case Makers Academy provided by David C Cook does an excellent job of reaching children on their level.  If you would like to read reviews by other members of the Home School Review Crew, click here or on the graphic below.

 

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Thoughts for Tuesdays -October 2, 2018

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So last week saw something things come into our home.  First, we had the pleasure of having Mr. Tom Rye and his wife of the Oklahoma Home School Band come to our home.  They drove to Texas to visit our Victoria Home School Band director, meet our director in person and also bring our family and another family some instruments.  Hands down, we definitely won the largest instrument contest because our oldest son acquired both an Upright bass and a full-size cello.  These two instruments are almost so big, they take up almost all of the space in the back of our 12-passenger van.

Then our youngest son acquired a bass clarinet along with a full-size viola.  The best part about getting the bass clarinet was the private instruction he received from Mr. Tom Rye in our home.  It really made our son’s weekend.  While deciding between the three violas we were offered, the decision ended up being fairly clear cut.  Our son is really pleased with that instrument as well.

Here is a picture of our son with the winning cello.

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And because it is Tuesday, here are some pictures of tasty things we have eaten recently.  These include pork chops, a cake our oldest son made as a result of a challenge from work, and a meal my husband and I ate at Jason’s Deli.

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If you want to read what other members of the Home School Review Crew are blogging about this week, click here or on the graphic below.

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